People love stories. There is a comfort in experiencing lives that are not our own from the safety of our couches, be it a book, film, or television show. And despite our complaints about repetitive storylines, most people like their stories to be ultimately familiar. We like our heroes to win and villains to lose. Joseph Cambell’s monomyth has been utilized as long as stories have been told, so major story beats are recognizable at the core.
However, this doesn’t mean that television writers are given the go-ahead to take the lazy way out. Just because story structures stay the same doesn’t mean that the element of surprise should be abandoned. Some shows are constantly inventive, shocking their audiences time and time again while others may have fallen a bit short. Even on the best of shows, viewers could see these plot twists coming from a mile away.
Jon Snow Is Resurrected — Game of Thrones
Let’s get the big one out of the way. Despite Kit Harington’s lies, there was never any doubt to most fans that Jon Snow’s absence would not permanent. Yes, Game of Thrones has amassed quite the body count, but even a casual fan could tell that Jon’s story was far from over. After a fifth season full of character development and a still unsolved parentage, there was no way the Lord Commander was going to stay dead. Still, props to the creative team for still making the moment of his awakening at least somewhat suspenseful.